by John Russel Jones

TrusTrace, a market-leading platform for supply chain transparency and product traceability within the fashion and retail industries, in collaboration with Fashion Revolution and Fashion for Good, today announces the launch of The Traceability Playbook. The comprehensive, open-source guide offers in-depth analysis of the evolving market dynamics and incoming legislation moving traceability from a nice-to-have to a must-have and includes practical advice on how to leverage traceability to achieve sustainability goals. The initiative was driven by a collective commitment to accelerating sustainable transformation in the fashion industry, through cross-industry collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Shameek Ghosh, co-founder and CEO of TrusTrace comments, “We’re at an inflection point as an industry, where sustainability is evolving from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘must-have’ business imperative; a point at which one’s green line is becoming every bit as important as one’s bottom line. However, with this evolution comes the need for knowledge on how to most effectively manage this sustainable transformation, which is why we’ve teamed up with Fashion Revolution and Fashion for Good to develop this Traceability Playbook. Together, with some of the most knowledgeable, best-informed minds in the industry, we’ve created a resource for the fashion industry that will significantly support sustainable transformation.”

The start of 2022 has seen TrusTrace experience a 350% YoY increase in brand requests for traceability guidance and support, inspiring the traceability platform to join forces with advocacy organization Fashion Revolution and the global innovation platform Fashion for Good, to develop the Traceability Playbook.

The collaborators have worked together to combine knowledge and expertise, developing a go-to manual that will help brands understand the basics of achieving supply chain traceability, from the key players operating within the vast supply chain network, to the digital trends and legislation driving traceability forward. The playbook is written by sustainable fashion journalist Megan Doyle, who worked with collaborators to combine knowledge and develop this go-to manual that will help brands understand the basics of achieving supply chain traceability, from the key players operating within the vast supply chain network, to the digital trends and legislation driving traceability forward.

Providing both up-to-date insights and concrete examples of good practice, the playbook includes case studies from innovative companies such as Balenciaga, Gucci, adidas, and more, as well as insights from thought leaders across the industry including Amina Razvi from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition; Paul Foulkes-Arellano from Circuthon; and Baptiste Carriere-Pradal from Policy Hub, each providing in-depth insight into their specialist topics. Ultimately, the guide aims to support brands in understanding the business case for traceability whilst offering a step-by-step roadmap to achieve it.

“The Rana Plaza tragedy inspired the creation of Fashion Revolution and the #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign, understanding that a lack of transparency costs lives and in order to achieve accountability, greater visibility is needed to drive industry transformation,” says Liv Simpliciano Policy & Research Manager, Fashion Revolution. “As part of this work, we are pleased to highlight practical case studies of brands’ disclosure on how they are addressing some of the industry’s greatest challenges across overconsumption, overproduction, decent work, circularity, and carbon emissions. Transparency is the starting point, not the end in itself. The Traceability Playbook is a resource democratizing access to knowledge from leaders in the industry and importantly, exposes where greater traceability and transparency are needed to catalyze change.”

Katrin Ley, Managing Director at Fashion for Good, adds “Improved traceability and data integrity are the bedrock of a circular supply chain enabling and incentivizing sustainable enhancements. With the growing importance of an impact-driven supply chain, Fashion for Good is excited to contribute to an open-source playbook for the industry that promotes a collaborative approach of knowledge sharing, implementation, and driving the change that is needed to transform the industry for the better.”

Available to download from the TrusTrace website, the guide covers key topics such as the business case for traceability and transparency, the need for standardization and decentralization of data, and the key traceability trends driving the market. The guide also includes a ‘material school’ chapter, offering guidance on the impact of different materials.

One chapter explores key trends within digital supply chain traceability solutions, along with the importance of supplier education and technology innovation to drive more sustainable production practices. The guide also addresses the business drivers of traceability, including laws and regulations, communicating product-specific impact data, and product-specific claims.

Finally, TrusTrace explains the different levels of traceability, the benefits and limitations of each type, and how brands can leverage them to track and improve their ESG performance and compliance. To learn more, interested brands can then take the traceability test to identify how to best get started or progress their traceability journey.

The Traceability Playbook is also a key education tool for the UNECE Sustainability Pledge that TrusTrace has submitted today, aimed at accelerating sustainable transformation through supply chain traceability at scale. The pledge commits to three key actions:

  • Educating the fashion industry on how to best leverage technology in the form of supply chain traceability to deliver on SDG and ESG goals.
  • Scaling traceability in the industry by expanding the number of brands they support in building a data foundation. This will enable the industry to make informed decisions to improve ESG performance.
  • Accelerating positive results through collaboration and integration with other sustainability solution providers.

“Behind the clothes we wear, there are women and men that need to be respected, and deserts, forests, and oceans that need to be protected. Traceability and transparency are key to ensuring that social, human rights, and environmental risks are properly identified and addressed along global and complex value chains. It is a starting point to give a face and a voice to vulnerable actors in this industry, and a right move towards responsible choices and circular business models that will drive wrong patterns ‘out of fashion.’ We are delighted to welcome TrusTrace into our UNECE Sustainability Pledge community, as this is another step forward to accelerate transformation at scale, for the sustainable clothing industry of the future,” says Maria Teresa Pisani, Economic Affairs Officer, and Project Lead at UNECE.

The Traceability Playbook was launched on June 7th, 2022, during a side event of the Global Fashion Summit: Copenhagen Edition – the leading international forum for sustainability in fashion.